The Mayor of London’s new Toxicity Charge came into force on the 23rd of October this year. Affecting a large number of vehicles of all types the Toxicity Charge, or T-charge as it is more commonly known, is a further measure to help improve London’s deteriorating air quality. If you haven’t heard of it yet or want to know more about it, whether it affects you, and what you need to do, then read on.
The T-charge: what exactly is it?
Officially it is called the Emissions Surcharge, but it is more commonly referred to as the T-charge, short for toxicity. Applied to vehicles entering and using the same area as the Congestion Charge Zone, it is an additional charge – in other words you must pay both if your car does not qualify for an exemption.
Why introduce a new charge?
With air quality levels becoming increasingly worse in the capital the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has decided that stricter measures need to be taken to cut levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. These are released when an engine burns petrol and diesel fuel which have a detrimental effect on human health as they affect the cardio-pulmonary system. For those already suffering from any heart conditions or asthma exposure to high pollutant levels can be particularly damaging.
Who does it apply to?
The T-charge applies to all vehicles that do not comply with the set minimum Euro standards. These are generally those vehicles registered before 2006 and more specifically:
- Petrol and diesel vehicles: Euro 4/IV
- Motorised tricycles and quadricycles: Euro 3
As always there are exceptions, but to be sure you can check whether your vehicle is affected by checking it on TfL’s registration checker. If you live with the charge zone you can apply for an exemption or discount; full details of who can do so and how to go about it are on the TfL website.
When do I have to pay it?
The T-charge applies during the same operating hours as the Congestion Charge, namely Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm. Check before driving into the city centre to make sure you don’t inadvertently end up with a penalty charge.
How much does it cost and how do I pay?
The cost is £10 per day. Remember that this is in addition to the Congestion Charge. You can make a payment on the TfL website.
How can I avoid having to pay the T-charge?
The easiest way is to avoid driving into the affected zone by using public transport, joining a car club, or even going as far as retrofitting your vehicle. It’s not always possible or cost-effective to do this and it may be easier to hire a compliant vehicle for those times when you need to enter the T-charge zone.